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Senior Band members receive recognition at football game

October 31, 2019

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Music Director's Fall Newsletter

Dear Music Dept. Families,

As we enter the final stretch of our fall season, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the students on an incredibly rewarding journey thus far. Our staff has put
together a show that is challenging and rewarding. The progress of the ensemble in these three seasons is remarkable. To put it into perspective, the ensemble's final show in the Fall of 2015 had an identical score for our first show out this season with a performance we were all less than satisfied with. In one week, they increased that score by more than 5 points, which is no small feat.


Fall Concert


Because our program is about more than just Marching Band, I must commend the students on their performance on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at the Rancho Campana High School Performing Arts Center. The performance featured Jazz I, String Orchestra and the Symphonic Band. The performance was the strongest top to bottom showing on that stage from our students from any time of the year since I have been at ACHS. To reach that level in a few short weeks was inspiring. Many programs do not do a fall concert because it is hard to put together a respectable performance, but it was clear that the students were ready to step up.


Program support


Beginning that Wednesday, I had to rely on my colleagues, administration, Booster parents, staff and the students to step up as I was needing to spend more time at home to deal with an urgent family matter. During our busiest weeklong stretch on the calendar for almost the entire year, I was able to be the father and husband I needed to be in this trying time without worrying about what would happen with all of our commitments and events. I was fortunate enough to have Assistant Principal, Ms. Chadwick fill in for me at the concert call time and our students, led by an incredible leadership team, did everything needed for our concert to be successful. I received nothing but compliments about their professionalism and maturity throughout the process without me being present. Thursday required staff to play a larger role as I could not attend the full rehearsal and it concluded an incredibly productive week of rehearsals. Friday included our normal routine with the addition of 41 eager middle school students who were in awe of our young performers. Saturday required several logistics to be taken care of and a more than 2-hour trip down South to Anaheim for a Field Competition, then the overnight portion of our trip with most of our Marching Band students at which Dr. Stephenson and her family filled in for me.


People behind the scenes are making the magic happen, day in and day out to keep our program functioning at its best, but this team of people felt more critical than ever this past week and a half. People like John Ponti, Jeff Betancourt and Rick Reese, who handle our equipment truck and trailer logistics and who do far more than just driving these to and from. The entire Booster Board, whot wear so many hats on top of steering the Booster organization in a direction that is best for our students and ensembles, which includes Ha Nguyen, Lauri Barcelona, Susan James, Alicia Hoffman, Tim Ward and Julie Rutherford.


In addition to these people, we had a slew of chaperones who ensured our students had a safe and enjoyable trip. This included Cindy Nigh, who made sure all students were checked out from the show before heading home. This also includes a huge thank you to Juliette Resor for all that she has done for two straight years to help organize the overnight trip. It is no small feat to do a trip like this, and the organization and follow-up from a head chaperone is critical. While I never want to have to step away from the group, it is relieving to know that we have such a strong group of student leaders and parent volunteers who do so much for the entire group.


Football games


I must take a moment to address the football game on Friday, Oct. 22. Despite my efforts to be extremely mindful of when and when not to play, some spillover does happen, and we never like that for the sake of our team and players. There have also been unfortunate circumstances like opposing team injuries that have caused some inopportune playing as well. At the last home game there was another miscommunication, and we were warned for our playing in the first quarter, about 15 seconds into our first pep tune of the entire game. The warning made its way to the band, and we adjusted. Aside from the buildup of frustration with varying interpretations of rules from previous conversations of what the rules state for CIF, I was also concerned about our 41 middle school guests and their experience.